December in Mackay is hot, humid and a great time to be on the water! There’s a great variety of species and spots. December is a good time for early morning starts for a few hours of fishing, and night fishing can be very enjoyable and productive with no baking in the hot sun.
The reef closure has now run its course and many of the larger trailer boats will be heading wide looking for a good bag of reef fish for Christmas. Reds will be on the chew out in the deep waters of the shipping channel, which is the closest reliable spot to target the big reds. A quick chat to the local tackle shop staff will give you an up to the minute report on what’s biting and where.
Those heading wide will also target the shallower reef areas for trout and red-throat which will be on the chew. Pilchards are one of the best baits for trout with a small sinker to allow the bait to waft down slowly. Be alert, as the trout will come a fair way from their reef holes to nail the pillie. With slack line in the current, it’s easy to miss the hit. Super sharp hooks are a big help and generally they’re never sharp enough out of the box.
Good size Spanish mackerel are still mooching around out wide, so at anchor it’s always a good idea to float out a live bait of reef fish like a hussar or a gar, ribbonfish or pilchard on a gang rig. That setup will also attract cobia, which are welcome, and barracuda and sharks that aren’t welcome.